Screen Gems/Lakeshore/Firm (Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Paul
Harris Boardman, Tripp Vinson & Beau Flynn)
US 🇺🇸 2005
W: Scott Derrickson & Paul Harris Boardman
DP: Tom Stern
Ed: Jeff Betancourt
Mus: Christopher Young
Laura Linney (Erin Bruner), Tom Wilkinson (Richard Moore),
Campbell Scott (Ethan Thomas), Jennifer Carpenter (Emily Rose), Colm Feore (Karl Gunderson)
It would be quite forgivable to palm this off as just another
rip-off of The Exorcist, but this 2005 production takes a novel approach of building a courtroom drama around its horror movie core.
Based on the true case (of Anneliese Michel) that occurred in
1970's Germany, this adaptation changes the names for dramatic license and relocates the story to present day America where an agnostic defence attorney hesitantly takes the case of Father
Richard Moore, a priest accused of negligent homicide following an exorcism that resulted in the death of a teenage girl.
As the trail progresses, flashback scenes show Emily Rose's
possible case of demonic possession, as well as presenting a scientific argument behind the phenomena, suggesting that schizophrenia and epilepsy were potentially to blame for the deterioration
of the young girl's mental health.
It's all left quite ambiguous in the end, but the film
benefits from some genuinely creepy scenes and ethereal supporting performance from Jennifer Carpenter.
The real life case (of Anneliese Michel) is far more
disturbing, but as a Hollywood adaptation, this ticks the right boxes and leaves some lingering, unsettling afterthoughts.